The DREAM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides scholarships to immigrant students of all nationalities who are otherwise ineligible for government assistance. Beneficiaries are full-time students who are NOT Legal Permanent Residents or U.S. Citizens, including “Dreamers” who have work authorization through the DACA program.
The foundation has provided tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships through the Suffolk County Community College Foundation and Long Island Latino Teachers Association. In 2017, the Foundation directly awarded $30,000 in scholarship assistance to meritorious Long Island immigrant students who have distinguished themselves through academic achievements and community service.
The foundation was established by immigration lawyer David Sperling and was approved for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status in 2012.
The upper-case DREAM in the organization’s name is based on the original DREAM Act bill of 2001. The acronym stands for Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors. The DREAM Act, in its many subsequent permutations, has never passed Congress. In 2012, President Obama signed an executive order, called Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), which has provided more than 750,000 immigration students with work authorization and protection against deportation. DACA beneficiaries, however, are not eligible for government scholarships or loans.
Every year, approximately 4,500 undocumented students, including DACA beneficiaries, graduate from New York State high school. But only 5-10% continue with higher education. The foundation’s goal, through individual and business contributions, is to help these students pursue their dreams.
Members of the board of directors are all volunteers, and 100 percent of all donations are earmarked for scholarships. The Law Office of David Sperling is responsible for all administrative expenses associated with the foundation.
The president of the Board of Directors is Gloria V. Robles. She is also the Community Outreach Director of the Law Offices of David M. Sperling. Members of the current board include Leo Herrera, Lia Suntoso, Adam M. Tavares and Jorge Gómez.